8 Dead, 21 Missing in Kachin Ferry Disaster

By Nyein Nyein 24 July 2012

At least eight persons died when an Irrawaddy River ferry sank in Bhamo, Kachin State, on Friday morning. Police said they have rescued 73 people, but an estimated 21 are still missing.

Four university football players who had been travelling to Kachin State capital Myitkyina for an inter-university tournament were among the missing. Htet Wai Soe, a university football player and a student union leader, and the coach Zaw Zaw Naing were among the eight bodies recovered, confirmed the player’s father.

The stricken ferry was named as the Mya Min Aung; local rescue services said the boat developed engine trouble around Bhamo, but was carried by rapid waters downstream on the Irrawaddy before sinking soon after.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Monday, a police officer in Bhamo said, “We had recovered eight bodies—two women and six men— by Sunday evening, and are continuing the search.

“The ferry is still underwater. We have not been able to pull it to the surface yet,” he added.

People living along Burma’s major rivers and in the vast southern delta region often travel and transport goods by boat because of the lower cost and the inaccessibility of many areas by road.

In March this year, a similar incident occurred in the Irrawaddy delta when a Pathein ferry overloaded with goods and more than 100 passengers sank near Ngaputaw Township, causing more than 20 deaths.